1st Edition

Explorations in Fatherland Psychotherapeutic Reflections on Fathers and Fatherhood

By Judith Edwards Copyright 2025
    170 Pages
    by Routledge

    170 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the role of fathers from a broadly psychoanalytic lens, looking at fatherhood from the evolving perspective of fathers, the rest of the family, and society as a whole.

    Edwards draws on her rich clinical experience spanning over thirty years to look at the issues and problems around the role of the father in clinical work with a range of patients, spanning from classical psychoanalytic thinking to fiction, myth, and iconography. These multifaceted approaches allow us to explore the complexities of fatherhood for each unit of the family and to tease out both the problems and positives associated with fathers and fatherhood. Enriched with clinical vignettes, this book shares a new outlook on how patterns of manhood or personhood evolve over time and encourages the reader to not limit paternal function to sexual or cultural binaries.

    At a time when the role of men in society is ever more under debate, this book offers a fascinating and multi-faceted exploration of a key role for men and offers guidance to clinicians, and anyone interested in exploring the notion of fatherhood.

    1.The idea and fantasy of the father, seen through history  2. Having a Father and Being a Father  3. Fathers and Sons  4. Fathers and Daughters  5. Do siblings remember fathers differently?  6. Handing on in identification, and letting go..chh-ch-ch-changes..  7. Having ‘no father’ – the absent father and the single parent  8. Fatherland: the elephant in the room  9. Being the father to our own stories-Seeing and Being Seen  10. The Step Father  11. Rivalry with Fathers  12. Fathers in Poetry


    Dr Judith Edwards PhD is a retired consultant, psychoanalytic child and adolescent psychotherapist, and internationally published author, who worked for 35 years at the Tavistock Clinic. Her latest book Grandmotherland was published in 2024. She is interested in making psychoanalytic ideas more accessible for wider audiences, as she said in Psychoanalysis and Other Matters (Routledge): other matters matter.

    ‘Having already treated us to a truly original and highly engaging study about grandmotherhood, Dr. Judith Edwards has now provided us with a remarkably rich and comprehensive examination of the psychology of fatherhood.  Drawing upon centuries of insights from poets, novelists, musicians, historians, scientists, and psychoanalysts, and brimming with many of her own memorable clinical insights, Edwards has crafted a creative exploration, which will be of deep relevance not only to every male who has, or will, become a father but, also, to every human being who might well be the child of a father.’

    Professor Brett Kahr is senior fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London, and honorary director of research at the Freud Museum London, as well as visiting professor of psychoanalysis and mental health at Regent’s University London


    'Judith Edwards has a gift for revealing the meaning in everyday events. She also has a gift for making links between clinical work and the insights of novelists, poets, scientists and others. This book on fathers, bringing together testimony from so many different sources, will be of interest to clinicians, but also to anyone concerned with what it means to be human. A worthy successor to Grandmotherland.'

    Maria Rhode, professor emeritus of child psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic and child analyst, British Psycho-Analytical Society


    'Judith Edwards writes “Once you start talking you don't know what you’ll say”, and this is the result. You will not find any other book on fathers like this; a marvellous essay by an experienced and original psychoanalytical psychotherapist who wants to “set people’s mind wandering”.

    It contains poignant personal stories of their fathers from many contributors, plus Edwards’ associations from literature, poetry, science, history, art, feminist philosophy, politics, film, music, broadcasting, and psychoanalysis.

    Dr Edwards has succeeded brilliantly in her “invitation to colleagues to carve out their own pathways.'

    Dr Sebastian Kraemer, honorary consultant, Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust